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How Can I Protect My Trees From Pine Beetles?

Preventative spray and pheromone pouches may save high value trees

By: Kate Rusch–Public Information Officer

Is it better to use preventive spray or pheromone pouches to protect your trees from pine beetle infestation? he answer depends on the tree species you want to protect, the location of the trees, the beetle population and your personal preference. And before you make a decision, it is important to know that whether you use a preventive spray, pheromone, both or any other preventive treatment method, you will not be able to eliminate pine beetles entirely, but you may be able to minimize tree mortality.

Spraying trees to prevent pine beetle attacks is effective when protecting a small number of high value pine trees; it is not recommended on a large scale. If you live in an area that may face a high beetle population, it is best to choose a few individual trees that you want to save. Always use a licensed pesticide applicator to spray your trees, and make sure trees are sprayed before the beetles fly in warm weather.

Verbenone, the main anti-aggregant pheromone emitted by pine beetles, is intended for use as part of an integrated pest management strategy. Pouches of the pheromone can be placed throughout your forest and are an option in areas near waterways, where preventive spraying is usually not an option. Research on pheromone use has shown mixed results in a natural forest setting. Effectiveness seems to depend on tree species, beetle population levels and many other environmental factors.

May 8 Tree Symposium and other Town services help residents mitigate the effects of pine beetles

Property owners can learn more about preventative spraying and pheromones at the Estes Park Tree Symposium, which will take place from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on May 8 at the Estes Park Conference Center. This educational event is free to the public and will include sessions and booths with information on forest-related topics including pine beetles, wildfire, landscaping, tree identification, biology, natural history and more. The Tree Symposium is sponsored by the Town of Estes Park and its Estes Park Tree Board. More information is available at”

The Town also offers free Beetle Buster inspections by calling the Public Works Department at 970-577-3588. A trained Beetle Buster volunteer will visit with Estes Valley property owners and confirm successful beetle attacks on trees.  Beetle Busters can provide advice on forest health and recommendations specific to the landowner’s situation.

The Town of Estes Park provides free disposal of infested trees from Estes Valley properties at a sort yard located at 666 Elm Road. The site is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Trees must be stripped of branches, cut into sections and delivered to the site by the property owner. Logs should be kept as long as possible for transportation. Although shorter logs are accepted, logs at least 8 feet 3 inches in length are preferred. Shorter logs will be burned in an air-curtain burner, while logs longer than 8 feet 3 inches will be treated and used as wood products such as fence poles and lumber. For more information, please call the Town Public Works Department at 970-577-3588.

For more information on coping with pine beetles, visit to download a copy of the free publication A Northern Front Range Landowner Guide to Living with Bark Beetles, or pick up a copy outside Room 150 of Town Hall, located at 170 MacGregor Avenue.

This is the sixth and final article in a series compiled by the Town of Estes Park Public Information Office, which utilizes information provided by the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado State University, and Larimer, Jefferson, Clear Creek, Boulder and Gilpin Counties. For more information on Town services related to pine beetles, please visit or call 970-577-3588. To receive Town news in your e-mail inbox, please e-mail

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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